Formula 1 is in deep mourning at the Austrian Grand Prix as a young motorsport talent is killed in an accident at the Spa track in Belgium yesterday. Dutch motorsport talent Dilano van’t Hoff died in a racing accident in Spa, Belgium, on Saturday at the age of only 18 years.
This was confirmed by the Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA), in which the race was held on Saturday morning, and van’t Hoff’s racing team MP Motorsport.
“We are devastated by the loss of one of our greatest Dutch talents who brought so much energy to our team during the years he raced with us,” MP Motorsport said on Twitter, “We offer our sincere condolences to Dilano’s family and loved ones and are fully behind them and our team members who have lost not only a driver but also a friend.”
Spa claims another life
Spa-Francorchamps, located in the Ardennes forest in Belgium, is one of the most iconic and revered circuits in the world of motorsport. However, throughout its long and storied history, the track has witnessed its fair share of dangers and tragedies, with several fatalities occurring on its challenging layout.
The nature of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit poses inherent risks due to its high-speed straights, fast corners, and undulating terrain. These factors, combined with unpredictable weather conditions often encountered at the circuit, create a challenging and unforgiving environment for drivers.
In recent years, Spa-Francorchamps has seen additional fatal accidents that have brought attention to the dangers of the circuit. In 2012, during the FIA GT1 World Championship race, a collision occurred at the top of the Raidillon Eau Rouge corner, leading to the death of the young driver, Sean Edwards.
In August 2019, Frenchman Anthoine Hubert was also killed in a pile-up at a similar location – on the straight after the high-speed Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners – during a Formula 2 race at Spa. Safety measures at Spa were subsequently increased once again.
Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali “very sad”
The terrible news also reached Formula One on the sidelines of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg.
“We are very sad to have learned of the death of Dilano van’t Hoff today in Spa-Francorchamps,” said Formula One Managing Director Stefano Domenicali:
“Dilano died pursuing his dream of reaching the pinnacle of motorsport. Along with the entire motorsport community, our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
What happened at Spa yesterday?
A pile-up had occurred on a wet track at the high-speed circuit in the Ardennes. Tragedy struck during the second race at the Belgian circuit on Saturday morning when Dilano van’t Hoff was involved in a multi-car crash on the long Kemmel straight after the notorious Eu Rouge curve.
The incident took place during a restart in wet conditions, with high spray and poor visibility playing a role. Unfortunately, van’t Hoff was hit broadside by another car at high speed, killing the youngster.
Statements from team & drivers
MP Motorsport, van’t Hoff’s team, sadly confirmed that he did not survive the accident. The loss of the young talent is a devastating blow to the motorsport community.
Many Formula One drivers expressed their sadness on Saturday, but some called for more protection for drivers.
“This section needs to be reviewed and changed” says Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll,
“It’s not fair what happened. This passage needs to be reviewed and changed because we have lost two young talents in four, five years,” said Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll. Formula 1 also races at Spa on the last weekend of July.
World champion Max Verstappen said, “There are definitely things we need to look at. What happened today was clearly unnecessary.” However, he said it was too “easy to blame the track alone. We should also look at how wet it was and things like that.”
A minute’s silence was held before Saturday lunchtime’s Formula 2 race at Spielberg, where MP Motorsport has its own team.